Sam DuBose's family blasts Judge Leslie Ghiz over Ray Tensing's second mistrial

CINCINNATI -- Sam DuBose's family blasted Judge Leslie Ghiz on Tuesday, saying she essentially acted as a second defense attorney during former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing's retrial.

They're calling for a third trial, as well as a federal investigation into Tensing's actions.

Tensing is charged with two counts, murder and voluntary manslaughter, for shooting DuBose in the head during a traffic stop in July 2015. He's claimed DuBose tried to speed off, causing him to fear for his life.

Terina Allen with her brother, Sam DuBose (Photo provided)

Jurors have deadlocked in two separate trials.

In the latest case, most jurors voted for acquittal: Defense attorney Stew Mathews said eight jurors voted to acquit Tensing of murder and seven voted to acquit him of voluntary manslaughter. Ghiz announced a mistrial Friday.

Tuesday was the first time DuBose's family has spoken publicly since then. 

Terina Allen, DuBose's older sister, said she believes her brother was on trial -- not Tensing. Jurors didn't look at the merits of the case, she said, but instead judged her brother's lifestyle. DuBose had 13 children, and there was marijuana in the car when Tensing stopped him.

EDITORIAL: Use the Tensing case to demand change

"The trial was about drugs, children and whether or not Sam's life was valuable," Allen said.

She faulted Ghiz for letting jurors hear about DuBose's life but not allowing the prosecution to present more about Tensing.

 

In particular, Ghiz wouldn't allow prosecutors to discuss Tensing's pattern of stopping more black drivers than white. She also barred from evidence a Confederate flag T-shirt Tensing wore under his uniform the day he shot DuBose. The judge ruled the shirt was "far too prejudicial" to be allowed.

"I wondered if she was wearing a Confederate flag under those robes," Allen said.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters will announce his decision on a third trial sometime after July 10. He has until July 24, which is when Ghiz scheduled the next hearing.

Former University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond Tensing, speaks with his lawyer, Stew Mathews. (Pool photo)

Tensing and Mathews have declined to talk about the case.

Allen conceded Deters could add lesser charges but said she believes a jury will, and must, find Tensing guilty of murder.

"If Tensing didn't murder my brother, there is no such thing as murder in this country," she said.

DuBose's family asked the U.S. Department of Justice to look at the case long ago, Allen said. They want Tensing to be charged with violating DuBose's civil rights and compared his case to that of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man shot in the back by a South Carolina police officer. Scott was unarmed, and the officer pleaded guilty last month to a federal charge of excessive use of force.

The family also is demanding that the Cincinnati police chief investigate the officer who testified Tensing’s shooting of DuBose could be justified.

In a complaint to Chief Eliot Isaac, attorney Al Gerhardstein said Sgt. Shannon Heine’s testimony “undermined the prosecution's case,” suggesting that Heine prevented the jury from convicting Tensing and contributed to a second hung jury.

Allen didn't fault Heine for saying what she said but wondered why it came out when it did.

"I don't think any prosecution would put a witness on they believe is against their case," Allen said.

Isaac responded briefly to a question about Heine during a Friday news conference.

“I am concerned about a number of things that occurred during the trial, not only Sgt. Heine’s testimony, but also some of the comments made during the closing statement," Isaac said. "The matter is under review, and I will have a little bit more later regarding that.”

 

Black Lives Matter Cincinnati and several other groups plan to protest at Wednesday's FC Cincinnati game. It's being held at Nippert Stadium, on UC's campus. A Facebook event page tells those who plan to attend to wear black and bring signs.

Audrey DuBose, Sam's mother, thanked the protesters and said she's proud of them. The family has requested any demonstrations be peaceful.

"This is everybody's problem, because as long as this continues to happen, it's going to be a lot of disrespect for policemen," she said.

"All policemen's not bad, but it only takes one bad apple to make people assume it's a lot of them that's bad."

For complete trial coverage, visit wcpo.com/TensingTrial.

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